Ukraine’s military intelligence claims that Russia is planning to strike the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, and then report a radioactive leak to trigger an international probe that would pause hostilities and give the Russian forces time to regroup ahead of a counter-offensive. The intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a statement on Friday making this claim without offering any evidence. They also claimed that Russia disrupted the rotation of personnel of the permanent monitoring mission of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency that was scheduled for Saturday. Russia and the IAEA have not yet commented on these allegations. The Zaporizhzhia power plant is one of the 10 biggest nuclear plants in the world and fighting near it has repeatedly disrupted power supplies, fueling fears of a potential catastrophe like the one in Chernobyl in 1986.
Russia has reported drone attacks on its territory, with two drones attacking an administrative building of an oil company in Russia’s western Pskov region that borders Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia, and another drone going down in the Tver region about 150 kilometers north of Moscow. Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine on Saturday came under multiple rounds of shelling and one person was killed by cross-border mortar fire in the neighboring Kursk region. The British military has said that Russia’s private military force, Wagner, is withdrawing from areas around the eastern city of Bakhmut that Moscow claims to have captured earlier this month.